December 16, 2009

USA: Empty Nest: The car insurance is how much?

. LOS ANGELES, California / United Press International / Family Life / Empty-Nest / December 16, 2009 By Pat Nason Overcoming empty-nest stress syndrome: The nest isn't necessarily empty just because the kids leave -- after all, dad's still there, with time and opportunity for pursuits that have been on hold for, let's face it, a generation. This is the latest in a series of reflections. I have great news and I have not so great news. The great news is my daughter Lena is moving back in with me but the not so great news is I will be paying her car insurance premiums. Lena and her car This is not to suggest that I would not pay any price, bear any burden, for my child. On the other hand, have you priced car insurance lately for an 18-year-old driver? This new financial obligation wouldn't seem so onerous if I weren't already picking up my son's auto insurance as well. He's 20. Do the math. To be fair to Riley, he's picking up the monthly payment on the car I bought for him to drive and that's no small matter. Still, I can hardly wait for my children to age gracefully into a more affordable actuarial demographic. Either that, or earn enough money to cover their own car insurance premiums, whichever comes first. Moving day for Lena is Saturday. Coincidentally, we also have a gig at The Rose & Crown Saturday night. Naturally, I thought it would be convenient for us to get her things into the house, go through a decent warm up on the only song she sings with me (so far) and then head on over to the pub and play the gig. But it's not going to be that easy. My daughter has informed me she has a higher priority Saturday night -- the birthday party of a dear friend of hers -- so if she is to sing with Jim (the guitarist), Lagi (the bassist) and me it will have to be early during our first set, and then she is out of there whether the patrons want her to sing the song again or not. I grew up the youngest of nine children so I am familiar with settling for half a loaf. Shoot, in our house half a loaf was considered a great victory. I can live with Lena's best offer on the music gig, despite the ominous implication that I do not rule the band with an iron fist. I just hope she's not "going diva" on me. There is a wider, and more thought provoking, implication here, however. My daughter insists on putting a friend's birthday party ahead of a chance to bring a little sunshine into the lives of relative strangers? My son is reluctant to play the ukulele in public? It all makes me wonder whatever happened to the notion about everybody wanting to be in show business. That used to be one of the few sure things in life. Like death and taxes. And sky-high auto insurance premiums for young drivers. Is it possible the everybody-wants-to-be-in-show-business rule no longer applies? If so, is it possible that other "rock-solid" truisms might similarly meet their demise? Not to flog a dead horse here but I'm thinking particularly about the sky-high auto insurance rates. It would come in mighty handy for me if that one were to disappear suddenly. Under the circumstance, though, I have no real complaints. Economic times being what they are for so many Americans, I feel a little dissonance even mentioning the high cost of wheels and insurance for my kids when I know full well how fortunate we are to have access to these things. I have firsthand knowledge of want. In that, I'm well aware I have lots of company. During my childhood my family was, shall we say, on the lower end of the income spectrum, which -- and this is a truism that, sad to say, still applies -- typically bears the harshest consequences of economic downturns. Especially at Christmas. One Christmas stands out in my memory as particularly difficult for my family -- but at least I got a pretty good story out of it. [rc] © 2009 United Press International, Inc